The Mysterious Case Of Alieu Darbo and Wigan
Back in January I was contacted by a Swedish journalist who informed me that he had spoken with a 19 year old former Le Mans winger who had just completed a successful trial with Wigan Athletic and that he had been offered a three year contract at the club, despite interest from both Sunderland and Newcastle he had chosen the Latics due to the treatment he'd received from boss Roberto Martinez, the players name...Alieu Darbo
A quick search on the net and I found that indeed there was a young player who had been at Sunderland and Newcastle for trials, the Sunderland Journal confirmed this in an article they published saying Darbo was on trial at the Stadium of Light before Christmas and played in a practice match for the Black Cats - impressing alongside senior stars. Fair enough I thought, must be some truth in it
The story went that Darbo, a former Sweden youth international of Gambian descent, had been released by Le Mans and was searching for a new club, he had trials with Newcastle, Sunderland, Latics and Scunthorpe United, he claimed that he'd agreed a deal with the Latics and that next season (2012/13) he would be loaned out to Scunthorpe, first though he had to have some rehabilitation on a knee injury back home in Sweden
April and Darbo signs for Wigan, or at least that was the claim, The Daily Mail ran with Wigan have finalised a deal for Gambia Under 20 winger Alieu Darbo.
Nothing official from the club though the Swedish journalist confirmed to me that he'd spoken to Darbo and he told him that: 'I went over to England and signed for three years. It feels good.'
Alarm bells rang a little for me when I read in June that whilst he had been out with the Gambia national team ahead of their World Cup qualifiers he'd been dropped from the 23-man squad...for the upcoming games against Tanzania and Algeria 'after his failure to impress' at training, the full article can be read via allafrica.com
Strange for a player who impressed at Newcastle, Sunderland and Wigan failing to impress at, with all due respect to Gambia, hardly the hottest of footballing hotbeds!
So preseason and you'd expect the new signing to be joining up with his new team-mates? Nope, a broken knee cap, yeah, and further rehabilitation required in Sweden, but Darbo wasn't despondent, the Latics had sent him his new kit and told him to get better quickly, or at least thats what his facebook status said.
July 22nd and I receive an email from my Swedish journo friend who informs me that Darbo has basically made it all up! Apparently Latics boss Roberto Martinez on the recent trip to Sweden for the preseason training camp says the club have never heard of Alieu Darbo and that it is all nonsense to say that he has signed
Whatever the truth of this is I am sure we haven't heard the last of Mr Darbo
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